Happy Easter weekend to you! I pray that you have a blessed time reflecting upon the death and resurrection of our Savior. May you know the hope of your own resurrection, because of His.

If you missed last week’s edition of Five Minute Friday, you might not have heard the latest news about the FMF Retreat. Help us spread the word?

FMF Retreat 2015 logoThere are only 30 slots available, so mark your calendars! Tickets will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

For more info about the retreat, click here.

***

This past week, on April Fool’s Day, we celebrated the first anniversary of the release of two beautiful books:

Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected about Being a Mom by Lisa-Jo Baker, and

Warrior in Pink: A Story of Cancer, Community, and the God Who Comforts by Vivian Mabuni.

I had the privilege of reviewing both books last year at this time, and would highly recommend each of them! You can find my reviews here and here — then go ahead and treat yourself to a little Easter gift, eh?

 

 

This week I get to share a fantastic new FMF Intro video with you, in which Asheritah from OneThingAlone.com interviews Karrilee Aggett.

You’ll see in the video that Karrilee is a pro at encouraging others, and if you’ve been part of the Five Minute Friday community for any length of time, you’ve likely been blessed by her enthusiasm and kindness!

If you can’t see the video, click here.

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:

FMF - good

 

Roll up your sleeves, set aside your cup of tea, and let’s write.

GO.

Every year around this time, our pastor in Cape Town preaches a sermon two days before Easter. The title is often the same:

“What’s so good about Good Friday?”

It’s a question I used to wonder myself.

What’s so good about the day Jesus died? Wasn’t it a day of tremendous sadness? Why, then, should we call it good?

What’s so good about a man in agony, sweating drops of blood into the ground as he knelt down to pray?

What’s good about the harsh betrayal of a close friend, a betrayal that would lead to death?

What’s good about the mocking, the beating, the repeated insults endured by the Son of God? The nails, pounded into raw flesh? How could any of those atrocities be labeled as good?!

The day Jesus hung on the cross can be called Good Friday because of the last words he breathed:

“It is finished.”

The curtain tore in two, from top to bottom. From heaven down to earth, access has been granted. Sin no longer separates those who accept the glorious gift of forgiveness, made possible only by the suffering of the Son.

The punishment we deserve has been nailed to the cross, once and for all.

It is finished.

Glory to God. For He is good.

 Loading InLinkz ...

Hi everyone!

Welcome to this week’s edition to Five Minute Friday! If you’re new here, you may want to click over to this page to get the scoop on what Five Minute Friday is all about … we’d love to have you join us!

And if you haven’t heard, there’s a fabulous group that connects on Twitter every Thursday evening at the hashtag #fmfparty until the prompt is released. Check it out — it’s tons of fun!

Some of you were asking last week if we’ll be taking a break from Five Minute Friday over Christmas. Since Christmas Day and New Year’s Day both fall on a Thursday this year, the answer is YES.

There WILL be a regular link up next week, the week of December 19th.

There will be NO Five Minute Friday link-up during the weeks of Christmas Day or New Year’s Day.

We’ll resume with a new prompt on Thursday, January 8th, 2015. 

(Doesn’t it seem crazy to see 2015??)

If you’re already experiencing withdrawal symptoms and your hands are shaking at the thought of two weeks without Five Minute Friday, don’t despair.

Letters to Grief - Final coverI’ll be hosting a special edition link-up right here on my blog on Monday, December 22nd.

The topic?

If you were to write a letter to grief, what would you say?

The Letters to Grief link-up is in conjunction with the release of my ebook, Letters to Grief, which is available on Amazon for just $0.99.

I’d LOVE to have you join in … all you have to do is write a letter to grief on your own blog any time between now and December 22nd. It can be as long or as short as you’d like it to be. Then come back on Monday, the 22nd of December, link up your post, and see what others have written as well!

Updated to add: One Letters to Grief link-up participant will be chosen to have their post featured on my blog on Monday, January 5th, 2015.

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:

FMF - Prepare - 12.12.2014

 

Ready?

GO.
Around this time of the year, the most common small talk question I hear amongst the retail workers, the bank tellers, the hairstylists, is, “So, are you ready for Christmas?”

And inevitably, the response is always, “No,” because, “I still have so much I need to buy.”

And those words just grate on my insides and make me cringe, because who says you need to buy anything, really? Then I heard a conversation between radio deejays about “What to buy that person who already has everything,” and I thought to myself, “Why would you want to do that? What’s the point?”

And I’m so glad that I’ve seen another way. I’ve seen that it is actually possible to step out of the culture’s commands to do and buy and give and hoard, and just be.

I’ve seen a place where the clock slows down in December and the sun lingers longer in the sky, and people breathe deeper and saunter down the sidewalks without shopping bags in their hands, and don’t rush.

They sit in a semi circle on white plastic chairs and drink copious amounts of Coke while watching meat cook over the fire, and they just enjoy the presence of the One who made them.

And I think about Mary and how she didn’t buy a single thing in preparation of His birth, and I wonder how it is that we’ve become so consumed by the hustle and bustle, so tangled in strings of lights, so filled with wrapping paper and stocking stuffers that we’ve left no space to let every heart prepare Him room.

 

Link up your five minutes of free writing below! If you don’t have a blog, feel free to leave your five minute post in the comments.

 Loading InLinkz ...

My dear Five Minute Friday crew,

I wrote something for you.

It’s a collection of Letters to Grief.

 

Letters to Grief - Final cover

 

You can snag a copy right over here, and if you click over before the end of Friday, December 5th, it can be yours for FREE!

I wrote it because some people think grief is a process.

I disagree.

Grief is not something we get through, at least not in this lifetime. It’s cyclical, like the moon, waxing and waning.

 

DSC_0125at
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie

Ebbing and flowing like the tide. It’s always there.

 

DSC_0123at
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie

 

I wrote it for all of you who have known grief as a close companion, an intimate friend. A shadow.

I wrote it for those of you who have not yet experienced its acute pangs, but have watched people cringe with the weight of its burden.

I wrote it not to dictate how people feel or should feel, but to open a discussion about grief’s all-consuming and ever-changing nature. Its paradoxes and its unexpected qualities.

 

DSC_1192at
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie

 

I hope it will bless you. Most of all, I pray that it will show you hope.

 

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is DEAR.

If you don’t know what Five Minute Friday is, click here. Then set a timer for five minutes, and let’s write!

Ready? GO.

***

Dear Grief,

You are a fickle creature. Moody and temperamental.

You’re a chameleon, changing shades to match your surroundings. You refuse to be bottled up and contained. Labeled and understood.

You flow with a current of your own making, pulling with a strong undertow that threatens to drown me.

You push into my house uninvited. You sit down at the kitchen table and declare yourself part of the family. I bristle at first, your presence provoking anger. Then I realize you’re not going anywhere.

You’re here to stay.

I resign, and sit with you on the front porch swing. Together we rock back and forth as we watch the sun melt into the horizon.

And we wait.

 

Consistent as Seasons - Katie Reid
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie

 

Sometimes you’re a pounding downpour, and I want to run from you — to escape to dry shelter and not be touched by you. Other times you’re the gentle patter that lulls me to sleep at night, soothing and almost unnoticed.

 

DSC_0020at
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie

 

You overwhelm, but only for a night.

Morning is coming, and its light will cause you to shrink away into the shadows and disappear forever, never to be seen again.

STOP.

***

Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie
Image by Katie Reid, echoesofmyheart.com, Twitter: @ImprintsKatie

The e-book, Letters to Grief, can be yours for FREE through Friday, December 5th on Kindle, and for $0.99 thereafter.

And psst … if you don’t have a Kindle, don’t despair! I don’t either, but there’s this really cool (and free) thing called the Kindle reading app, which you can get on pretty much any device (iPhone, Android, iPad, PC, Mac)! Click here to learn more about getting the free Kindle app if you don’t have it (or a Kindle) already!

Also, huge shout out and tons of gratitude to our very own Five Minute Friday sister Katie Reid for the gorgeous graphics she designed for this book launch, and to Dan King over at Fistbump Media for making the e-book a reality! Also, it was so much fun to include quotes in this book from fellow Five Minute Friday writers Meredith Bernard, Karen Brown, Alia Joy and Lisa-Jo Baker! Thank you ladies, for your role in this project!

To God be the glory.

Link up your own five minutes on the word DEAR either by clicking the inLinkz button, or by sharing your words in the comments!

 

 Loading InLinkz ...

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all of the Americans! Hope you’ve had a blessed time reflecting on God’s goodness.

There are some exciting things happening within the Five Minute Friday community!

First of all, our very own Asheritah over at OneThingAlone.com launched her first e-book on Wednesday! Congrats, girl!

It’s called Unwrapping the Names of Jesus, and it can be yours for FREE through November 28th. Don’t wait .. click here to get a copy today!

 

Unwrapping names of Jesus - Asheritah

 

And that’s not all .. Anna over at GirlWithBlog.com released her first e-book recently as well! I’m so impressed with these Five Minute Friday ladies! Well done, Anna!

Click here to order your copy of A Moment of Christmas: Daily Devotions for Time-Strapped Moms.

 

A Moment of Christmas

 

Lastly, I’m gonna let you in on a little sneak peek of a project I’ve been working on. Lord willing, this Monday (December 1st), my first e-book, Letters to Grief, will be released!

 

Letters to Grief - Final cover

 

It will be a free gift to all blog subscribers, and will also be available on Kindle.

 

 

DSC_0123at
Graphic designed by Katie Reid, www.echoesofmyheart.com, @ImprintsKatie

 

If you’re interested in a copy and haven’t entered your e-mail address in the sidebar on the right, go ahead and subscribe now! I’m excited to share this collection of letters with you and pray that it will be a blessing.

Right. Now that all the public service announcements are out of the way, let’s get writing! If you’re new here and don’t know what Five Minute Friday is all about, click here to read more.

This week’s prompt is ..

 

FMF - Give

 

Ready? GO.

I have a ceramic platter from Dayspring that says, “Grateful for all God gives.” But it wasn’t until I was lifting the last bit of leftover turkey from the platter this afternoon that one word really stood out.

All.

“Grateful for all God gives.”

Is that really true? Am I really grateful for all God gives?

Last night our church had a special Thanksgiving prayer meeting, where people shared what they are grateful for this year. I cried about five times. There were some hard stories. Some painful experiences.

But everyone gave thanks, in spite of their circumstances.

My husband stood up and said that he is thankful for everything. For good health and poor health. For happy times and sad times. For easy days and hardship. Because, he reasoned, if we didn’t have any difficulties and adversity, we wouldn’t be grateful for times of blessing.

And I had to wonder if that was really true for me. Do I really give thanks in all circumstances? Or just the ones I’m happy about?

The platter says, “Grateful for all God gives.” But sometimes He gives me situations I don’t want. Sometimes He gives me challenges I don’t think I can handle.

 

10333244_807014479362055_6254661472018153486_o

1 Thessalonians 5 says that God’s will is for me to give thanks in all circumstances. Even the hard ones.

And for that, I am grateful.

Link up your five minutes of free writing on the word GIVE by using the inLinkz button below.

 Loading InLinkz ...

Welcome to another week of Five Minute Friday — an online community where bloggers who mostly don’t even dare to call themselves writers put their brave on week after week and bring the internet alive with their beautiful words.

It’s a place where we write free and deep and wide, where we let it all spill onto the screen in all its messy, jumbled up glory. It’s a place to link arms with others, to lift them up, to shine a light, to give hope.

Won’t you join us?

Click here to learn more.

 

And this week I have something extra special to share with you — an opportunity for Five Minute Friday to spread beyond your virtual screen and online comments, and straight into your mailbox.

 

Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Bouchillon, kaitlynbouchillon.com

It’s called FMF Party Snail Mail, brought to you by the delightful Kaitlyn Bouchillon. Many of you have already been blessed by it, as you’ve sent each other cards and words of encouragement through good ol’ snail mail.  And now Kaitlyn is kicking off round four with a mini Christmas session!

You can read all about it right over here. Registration closes November 23rd, and this round will go from the first week of December to the first week of January.

Sign up here to strengthen the Five Minute Friday bond through #fmfpartysnailmail.

 

 

This week’s Five Minute Friday prompt is:

 

FMF - Still

 

Ready? GO. 

***

It was me versus the fallen leaves in a race against the rain. The skies hovered low in ominous clouds, and I could feel it coming in my bones. Chased closely by the promise of snow the next day, I had to get rid of the leaves. I raked and raked, pile upon pile, but the wind was on their side. The brown and burgundy leaves rebelled and laughed as they danced away in swirls and spins, across the stage of my front yard and out of my reach.

I scolded them in frustration and told them to come back, but the wind persisted, deeming my efforts a lost cause. I resigned myself to defeat and forgot that even the stormy winds do His bidding. I forgot that even the wind and the waves obey Him at a word, and are stilled.

 

Leaves - Be still

 

The rain fell as expected, and soon after, I saw it. The first snowflake, resting content on my car door, tiny with five perfect points. I stopped and stared at it, marveling at its intricate design.

The next morning I woke to a blanket of white on the ground outside. Peeking through the blinds into the darkness, all was quiet, like that silent, holy night in Bethlehem when the world drew its breath and was still. When they bowed, hushed by the glory of the newborn King — a foretaste of the day to come when every knee shall bow, and all will be still and know that He is God.

 

Link up your five minutes of free writing on the word STILL below .. And don’t forget to stop by the blog of the person who linked up before you to leave some encouragement!

 

 Loading InLinkz ...